I have always regarded Hunter Tylo as a striking woman. But this was before her nip/tuck and boob-lift days. Somehow she has since killed the natural beauty that made her the envy of millions of women.

Vanity aside, Tylo is an actress who wields as much influence in the world of soaps as Taylor Hayes in SABC1’s The Bold and the Beautiful.

Having inhabited this role for almost two decades, barring a sabbatical, she has made an indelible impression on viewers.

We first fell in love with Taylor, a psychiatrist, when she helped Ridge cope with Caroline Spencer’s battle with leukaemia and her death. It wasn’t long before the two fell in love and married, much to Brooke Logan’s horror and Stephanie Forrester’s (Ridge’s mother) glee.

Her character has come a long way since then, though.

Having just completed two shows before our chat, a fatigued Tylo explained: “Our schedule has got so intense. We are shooting at least three times the work now.

“We got our script last week for what we shot today. We were all trying to wing it, due to a lack of sleep and the travelling.

“Thank goodness we have developed a great knack for memorising scripts fast. If you didn’t have any experience, I don’t think somebody would find this to be very fun. It is a lot of hard work and discipline.”

True traits of a consummate professional.

Commenting on the evolvement of Taylor and her more bold stance in the soap, Tylo laughs: “Well, I don’t think she has been throwing caution to the wind. She has been saying, ‘Whenever I am self-sacrificing, I end up getting screwed over and hurt in the end.’ And now she is trying a different approach. Or rather she is protecting herself.

“In psychology, they tell you to be true to yourself. Maybe she is finally doing that, even though in her moral compass she knows that it is better to put other people first. She has been going after what she wants instead. It is a very good growing place for Taylor to go back to reality and realise that she is not perfect and that she needs to try not looking so perfect so much.”

She doesn’t deny that Stephanie has, to some extent, been a force in her life.

“Stephanie has been telling her (Taylor) all along to go for what she wants and to not be otherwise where Brooke’s manipulations are concerned. It was so obvious she was going after Ridge. How can you explain away that she always kept ending up in the elevator in her bra and underwear over and over again? Stephanie’s whole mission was to get Taylor to smell the coffee and realise that not everybody has as altruistic an agenda as she does.”

As for whether she has finally moved on and is happy with Whip, Tylo smiles: “I think Taylor has found true love with Whip. I think if she was a smart psychiatrist, and able to apply her knowledge in her own world, she would be with Whip. She would know this is a healthy relationship. But Taylor doesn’t see it. She still wants to fix people.”

Ironically, her daughter, Steffy, is very much a younger version of Brooke… although Taylor refuses to acknowledge it.

“Taylor is totally blind to it because that is her daughter,” she explains.

“In the scenes that we had today, Brooke was right that each parent needed to quit placating their daughter because she lost her sibling. Taylor gave Steffy her portion of stock without even splitting it with her brother. $50 million worth, actually, which is a lot of money to be giving to a kid. I think it has made Steffy feel entitled to go after what she wants.”

And so the saga continues with an older Taylor and Brooke still at loggerheads and Ridge caught in the middle.

Ah the joys of soaps and the incestuous and depraved lives of their characters!

• The Bold and the Beautiful is on SABC1 at 6pm on weekdays.